Week of: December 10, 2007
- Laptops Transforming Classroom Practice
Students in Pennsylvania high school laptop computer classrooms spend more time on hands-on projects and teachers spend more time working with small groups of students.
- Tech Sherpas Provide Technology Support
A group of dedicated high schoolers help guide their teachers through the highways and byways of technology use at a small Maine high school.
- Center To Study Digital Media
The new Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop opened on December 6, dedicated to exploring how digital media can help children learn.
- Technology Education Broadens Horizons
The technology education class at Judson Middle School in Longview, TX uses a hands-on and project-based approach to introduce students to the fields of science, engineering and technology.
- Technology Trends for 2008
If the experts are right, green technologies, open source and increased convergence between separate technology platforms will be among 2008's most important technology trends.
Laptops Transforming Classroom Practice
Students in Pennsylvania high school laptop computer classrooms spend more time on hands-on projects and teachers spend more time working with small groups of students. Pennsylvania launched its Classrooms for the Future program, which aims to put a laptop computer into the hands of every public high schooler within three years, in the 2006-07 school year. Penn State University has completed the first evaluation of the program, indicating that the atmosphere in the laptop classrooms has changed. Researchers report that "participating classes spent more time on "real-world" topics and hands-on projects and that students spent less time off-task." Teachers also spent less time lecturing and more time working with small groups of students. Never the less, there is concern that the program favors more affluent school district who can cover the costs of laptop maintenance and support. Smaller, poorer district have a harder time qualifying for the laptop money, since they have more difficulty coming up with the funds needed for program maintenance. The state spent $20 million on the program in its first year and $90 million in 2007-08. State funding pays for the laptop computers and teacher training as well as classroom upgrades, like the addition of interactive whiteboards and document cameras. The Pennsylvania Department of Education says the program is working. Schools are expanding course offerings and teachers are better able to differentiate instruction for all levels of students.
Source:The Morning Call
Tech Sherpas Provide Technology Support
A group of dedicated high schoolers help guide their teachers through the highways and byways of technology use at a small Maine high school. That's how they earned the nickname "tech sherpas" For many of these students technology is second nature and they can quickly solve problems that might take a frustrated classroom teacher hours to work through. While helping to provide such support is important, the main goal of the informal support program in the MSAD#48 school district is to help these teens practice communication skills while broadening their experience and exposure to technology. By helping to create a collaborative atmosphere the school district hopes to stave off any potential problems that might arise from the clash of digital natives and digital immigrants. Students are learning to be diplomatic and realizing that they may have to go over a concept more than once. It's helping them understand what their teachers face on a daily basis. The reason a program like this works is because of the skills and structure that the district's technology integrator has built into it. While the tech sherpas spend a lot of their own time mastering programs and equipment, many also take the intro and advanced broadcasting communication classes offered at the high school. Tech sherpas can help out in the classroom when a problem arises, they help build web sites for the high school's various academic departments and they are sent to fix problems within their skill set rather that tax the district's small IT staff. Not only do the students' communication skills and ability to work collaboratively with adults improve, there is some evidence that this model is linked to improved academic performance as well.
Center To Study Digital Media
The new Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop opened on December 6, dedicated to exploring how digital media can help children learn. Joan Ganz Cooney and her colleagues at PBS launched Sesame Street in 1969, helping to transform the face of children's television, proving that educational television did not have to be dull or didactic. The mission of the new center is to explore what that lesson means in the 21st century. The center will focus on the needs of elementary age children, conducting and supporting research, creating new media properties, and stimulating a national dialogue on how interactive technologies can be utilized to help accelerate children's learning. The center will work closely with leading universities and industry partners that are engaged in cutting edge media and learning innovations. New media platforms such as the web, cell phones and video games will be examined to better understand their role in children's literacy development both in school and out. The Center will also champion best practices and develop policy agendas to stimulate investment in promising and proven new media technologies for children. Ms Cooney hopes that just as Sesame Street "brought national attention to the sorry state of children's television and challenged the industry to raise the bar," the new center will help "lead a much needed conversation on how young children can learn from new media innovations, and be a major force in getting industry to act on their behalf."
Technology Education Broadens Horizons
The technology education class at Judson Middle School in Longview, TX uses a hands-on and project-based approach to introduce students to the fields of science, engineering and technology. Students build robots, learn about motion and force with model rockets, design model bridges with computer aided design software and then build them. Mark Fuller, Judson's technology education instructor, says that he designed the class to help students "gain knowledge and skills in the application, design, production and assessment of products, service and systems." To add a real-life touch, students are formed into companies for the bridge-building project, where they have to work within the constraints of deadlines and budgets. Eighth and ninth grade students in the Pine Tree Independent School District can take a similar course or one focused on multimedia technology, which includes computer animation, video and audio recording techniques. Seventh graders take a broadcasting class in which they learn to produce a weekly news program that airs at school and on a local cable television channel. Research indicates that middle school students are beginning to make decisions about future career choices, so exposure to courses focused on science, engineering and technology help expand students' ideas about what is possible. Texas added standards for sixth- through eighth-grade technology and industrial technology to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills in 1998. The state curriculum requirement covers everything from lessons on information technologies to industrial quality control, but allows teachers to choose particular activities.
Technology Trends for 2008
If the experts are right, green technologies, open source and increased convergence between separate technology platforms will be among 2008's most important technology trends. CNET News asked a number of technology luminaries to predict 2008's most important innovations in their areas of expertise. Predictions ranged from automotive technology to virtual worlds. Search technologies are predicted to continue their evolution to helping people navigate their daily lives, rather than just find Web sites. Digital cameras are expected to get better at autotagging photos with location information and other potentially useful data. The market for video destinations, like YouTube, will get more crowded before it gets thinned out to a few major players. Virtual worlds and social-networking systems will begin to meld. Phone and cable technologies will start to work together on the same network. Wireless and wireline networks will start to work together as well. Expect open-source to make a least one successful incursion against proprietary alternatives in 2008. Linux will become the de facto standard platform for PC-like consumer electronics from set-top boxes to smartphones.